Shakespeare's Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects [NOOK Book]

Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of A History of the World in 100 Objects brings the world of Shakespeare and the Tudor era of Elizabeth I into focus



We feel we know Shakespeare’s characters. Think of Hamlet, trapped in ...
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Shakespeare's Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of A History of the World in 100 Objects brings the world of Shakespeare and the Tudor era of Elizabeth I into focus



We feel we know Shakespeare’s characters. Think of Hamlet, trapped in indecision, or Macbeth’s merciless and ultimately self-destructive ambition, or the Machiavellian rise and short reign of Richard III. They are so vital, so alive and real that we can see aspects of ourselves in them. But their world was at once familiar and nothing like our own.



In this brilliant work of historical reconstruction Neil MacGregor and his team at the British Museum, working together in a landmark collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC, bring us twenty objects that capture the essence of Shakespeare’s universe. A perfect complement to A History of the World in 100 Objects, MacGregor’s landmark New York Times bestseller, Shakespeare’s Restless World highlights a turning point in human history.



This magnificent book, illustrated throughout with more than one hundred vibrant color photographs, invites you to travel back in history and to touch, smell, and feel what life was like at that pivotal moment, when humankind leaped into the modern age. This was an exhilarating time when discoveries in science and technology altered the parameters of the known world. Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation map allows us to imagine the age of exploration from the point of view of one of its most ambitious navigators. A bishop’s cup captures the most sacred and divisive act in Christendom.



With A History of the World in 100 Objects, MacGregor pioneered a new way of telling history through artifacts. Now he trains his eye closer to home, on a subject that has mesmerized him since childhood, and lets us see Shakespeare and his world in a whole new light.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In his surprise 2011 bestseller A History of the World in 100 Objects, former British National Gallery director Neil MacGregor taught us to think about both history and museums in interesting, innovative ways. Now, in Shakespeare's Restless World, he demonstrates that we can still learn fascinating new things about the Stratford Bard. Using objects including a time piece, a rapier, a fork, a model ship, plague proclamation, and even a mounted human eye, MacGregor slyly acclimates us to this quite different age. Editor's recommendation.

Library Journal
★ 01/01/2014
British Museum director MacGregor looks closely at 20 objects that typify private and political life in England during the time Shakespeare's plays were first performed, accompanying his descriptions with many colorful illustrations. This approach brings the reader closer to Shakespeare's audience by looking at their thoughts about Queen Elizabeth, their fear of the plague, the weapons they carried, and even what they ate at the theater.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
What did Elizabethan theatergoers eat while watching Hamlet? British Museum Director MacGregor (A History of the World in 100 Objects, 2011, etc.) answers that question and many others as he examines 20 objects, now in museums and libraries, that illuminate daily life in Shakespearean England. As for theater snacks, researchers combing through debris buried under the Globe discovered that nuts, dried fruit and various kinds of shellfish were popular. Oysters were cheap, sold by girls known as "oyster-wenches" and pried from their shells with daggers, which every man carried. A two-pronged iron fork, though, was a surprising discovery; MacGregor speculates that it belonged to a wealthy audience member who imported the dining utensil from Italy at a time when most English ate with their fingers. A felted woolen cap gives the author a chance to explain how clothing choices distinguished among workers and signaled class. An obsidian mirror belonging to John Dee, practitioner of the occult arts, inspires a chapter on "the proximity and the influence of a world of spirits" that viewers of The Tempest or A Midsummer Night's Dream took for granted. Dee, it turns out, was a trusted adviser of Queen Elizabeth. A model of a bewitched ship, from the collections of the National Museum of Scotland, proves that for many in Shakespeare's audience, "witchcraft was part of the fabric of daily life." Viewers likely were aware, too, of the difference between the mischief perpetrated by English witches and the "taste for high politics" enjoyed by Scottish witches--the three, for example, whose chanting opens Macbeth. Civic life was indeed tense throughout Elizabeth's reign and even after her death. The country was roiled by threats of treason and assassination, beset by religious conflict and repeatedly infected by plague. Beautifully illustrated, MacGregor's history offers a vibrant portrait of Shakespeare's dramatic, perilous and exhilarating world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101638118
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 332,350
  • File size: 60 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Neil MacGregor has been the director of the British Museum since 2002; prior to that, he was the director of the National Gallery in London. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller A History of the World in 100 Objects.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 Stars As a graduate student in English, I've had a lot of e

    4.5 Stars

    As a graduate student in English, I've had a lot of exposure to Shakespeare throughout my college and graduate career. I have always been a huge fan of the Bard and his works and the time period when he lived always intrigued me as well. This book was a perfect blend of history and biography as the author takes us into the life and times of Shakespeare. The book tells of various objects that helped to define the period of time that Shakespeare and his contemporaries lived in. Although this is a nonfiction book, it's told in a very conversational tone which makes all the information accessible and fascinating - not bored and dry. Aiding the narrative and historical facts are fantastic illustrations, maps, and copies to show the views, beliefs, ideals, and general lifestyle of Shakespeare's time. The various media included in the book really added to the text and made it more exciting and easier to picture for the reader. The writing was well done - informative and full of great facts and history, but - like I mentioned above - it wasn't dry or boring to read. I enjoyed learning all about the different facets of life during that time period and this book does a wonderful job of explaining, highlighting, and illustrating some really fascinating aspects not everyone knows about. Highly recommended for fans of history nonfiction and Shakespeare buffs alike.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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